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PBS Host Smiley: Obama Race Speech 'Weak As Pre-Sweetened Kool-Aid'

PBS Host Smiley: Obama Race Speech 'Weak As Pre-Sweetened Kool-Aid'

On NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday, PBS host Tavis Smiley – the same man who once said that Ronald Reagan “tortured” blacks, despite a declining black unemployment rate of 9 percent – mildly praised President Obama’s race-centric speech to the nation on Friday about Trayvon Martin. “He was pushed to that podium,” said Smiley, “I’m glad he finally arrived.” Smiley had no comment on the devastating continuance of skyrocketing black unemployment, although he did call the president’s speech “weak as pre-sweetened Kool-Aid.”

He continued, “But when he left the podium, he still had not answered the most important question, that Kingian question, where do we go from here? That question this morning remains unanswered, at least from the perspective of the president. And the bottom line is, this is not Libya. This is America. On this issue, you cannot lead from behind. What’s lacking in this moment is moral leadership. The country is begging for it. They’re craving it. And I disagree with the president respectfully that politicians, elected officials, can’t occupy this space on race. Lincoln did, Truman did, Johnson did, President Obama did. He’s the right person in the right place at the right time, but he has to step into his moment. I don’t want him to be like Bill Clinton, when he’s out of office, regretting that he didn’t move on Rwanda. I don’t want the president to look back and realize he didn’t do as much as he could have in this critical moment.”

Smiley acknowledged, however, that Obama’s speech was likely driven by federal difficulties in finding evidence to charge George Zimmerman: “The president basically said to us, without saying to us, ‘This ain’t going no further.'”

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